Author: Art Tavana

Nineteen of the Loneliest Films Ever Made

By withdrawing ourselves into our bedrooms, we’ve become introspective and foggier. The weathering effect of a global pandemic has raised a pall over our dusty aesthetics. Deprived of sunlight and friends—even the aroma of a cup of Starbucks coffee becoming foreign—we’re all a bit more gothic and darkly imaginative, like Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice (1988). By engaging in a very necessary act of separatism, we’ve found ourselves bizarrely connected by a daisy-chain of emotions that seems wounded by an uncertain and cybernetic future. Our rate of media consumption has increased. What if we get sick and miss out on experiencing French new wave? What if a dear friend dies before we can drink coffee and talk about David Lynch’s G-rated Disney movie? So, we’ve been creating lists with the frequency of a sleep-deprived and sallow Kurt Cobain. By the summer, we’ll have ranked ourselves into a dizzying state of curated paralysis. We collectively realize this might be our last chance to read Infinite Jest or delve deeply into Korean cinema or German Expressionism. Fueled by …

So Here’s to You, Buck Henry

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I did not know who Buck Henry was. On the evening of his death on January 8, 2020, I had to Google his name (which sounds vaguely like the musky fragrance of an aging leather briefcase discolored by cigarette ash). According to his many admirers, Henry was the first writer to fashionize wearing a floppy baseball hat over round tortoiseshell spectacles. This is probably not true, but the residue of his mythology appears in the uniform of every New Yorker who writes about comedy; from David Letterman’s casual streetwear to the SNL writer taking their dog for a morning stroll in Central Park. You can still see this look in urban coffeehouses, where writers in colorful New Balance sneakers scribble jokes into moleskin notebooks. It’s almost certain that these twenty-something Buck Henry facsimiles associate the name with a woodsy-scented organic soap or fashionable strain of weed, or a dead Negro League ball player. I am not making fun of them. I am one of them. And they, like …